Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 26, 2020

A Productivity Junkie’s Guide to Overcoming Lack of Time

A Productivity Junkie’s Guide to Overcoming Lack of Time

There are days when it seems like there weren’t 24 hours in the day. It’s like the hours are disappearing or the clocks are running faster. Sorry to break it to you, but none of this is happening. The lack of time that you’re experiencing is just an illusion.

Your concern about not having enough time in the 24 hours in a day is not invalid. You’re not alone. However, the responsibility for fixing this issue is on your shoulders.

What you need to do is learn to manage what you’ve been given. Of course, no one can add an extra hour to the day. But what you can do is use every minute to your benefit.

If you struggle in dealing with a lack of time, you’ve come to the right place!

Why Do You Feel Like Having a Lack of Time?

Lack of time is experienced when certain bad habits take over your routine. These habits are unintentional, and you may not even realize that they are connected to your lack of productivity.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of these habits that are the most common among people who tend to complain of a lack of time. Once you’re aware of these causes, you can work to eliminate the problem from its roots.

1. Lack of Sleep or Oversleeping

You know how when your smart devices aren’t working, so you restart them and they start to work fine? Well, the human equivalent of that is sleeping.

Sleeping allows your body and mind to refresh. It gives you back all the drained energy and provides a fresh start for the new day. However, it needs to be done right. What this means is that you should sleep just the right amount. Six to eight hours of sleep is the ideal range for adults.

Advertising

Lack of sleep leads to a lack of productivity. Similarly, oversleeping will keep you lazy throughout the day. Adopt healthy sleeping habits.

More importantly, you should sleep comfortably. Have a nice, relaxing bed where you can sleep in a comfortable posture. Try to keep the temperature of the room optimal so that you’re not disturbed through the night. If you find sunlight disturbing, use an eye mask while sleeping. If you have noisy neighbors, use earplugs. Do all that you can to give yourself the best night’s sleep every night.

2. Multitasking

This might be a surprise for a lot of you. Multitasking is not a way to be efficient or productive. In fact, it is the polar opposite. Your brain can focus on only one thing at a time.[1] If you force it to focus on more, it fails to perform well in either task.

It is proven that multitasking slows down your brain performance. Your brain is unable to focus on either of the tasks that you’re multitasking. So, you end up spending more time completing them, and the results aren’t your best performance either.

Tackling two different tasks, even if they’re closely related, messes up with your mind. The ideas and requirements for both the tasks get mixed up. You risk your performance, quality of work, and end up wasting your precious time too. All in all, multitasking is not worth the risk at all.

3. Working Non-Stop

What’s the best way to do more in less time? Most would say working non-stop in one go shall do the trick. Well, the truth is, if you go on and work continuously, you’re only wasting your time. Your productivity and motivation are affected due to the constant strain on your mind.

This way, you’re not utilizing time to its maximum because your brain slows down and you need more time to finish tasks that would otherwise require lesser time.

A better approach is to work with breaks. You shouldn’t feel guilty about these breaks in your workday. Instead, look at these time slots as a source of refreshing your brain. A 5-minute break every couple of hours is just enough to recharge your energy levels and bring that the motivation you need to quickly finish off your work.

Advertising

4. Distractions

Working in an environment full of distractions is one of the biggest reasons that gives you a sense of a lack of time. You end up staring out your window, looking for your favorite pen, or doing something completely pointless instead of spending time finishing what you’re supposed to.

The best way to minimize your lack of time is to set up a productive workspace. If you’re working from home, designate a specific space for your work where you don’t sleep or relax. This space should only be for work.

If you’re in an office, have all your essentials within reach. A water bottle, a snack, stationery, notes, chargers, devices that you need, and everything else that you could possibly need during work should be near your workspace. This will keep you from wasting time or breaking your workflow.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Day

On top of getting rid of the aforementioned causes, you can also add some more healthy practices to your routine to get the most out of the day. These tips will eradicate the lack of time that you’re facing otherwise.

1. Have an Organized Plan

Starting the day with a plan is one great tip to avoid a lack of time. A well-planned to-do list is one of the secrets of the most successful people in the world.

If you can put all your tasks of the day and week in a calculated plan, you will end up utilizing your time way more effectively. You can use some very simple yet fool-proof strategies to devise a to-do list that will work wonders for you.

A plan or to-do list works like your assistant. It reminds you exactly what needs to be done, when your work is due, how long each task should take, and where you can adjust urgent or unexpected work.

2. Prioritize

Prioritization is something you should adopt even if you don’t experience the illusion of a lack of time. If you do have a lack of time, you shouldn’t skip it at all! This is the simple technique of what’s most important on top.

Advertising

For example, start your day with the task that you know needs to be to be finished by the end of the day. The ones that will either take less time or aren’t due right away can be pushed to later days.

Prioritizing also needs to be included in other parts of your life. So, prioritize your work and personal life to maintain a balance. This makes your overall life convenient and easier to manage.

Learn more about prioritization: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

3. Avoid Procrastination

You may think you’re not a procrastinator. But if you think there’s a lack of time, then procrastination is a contributing habit.

Maybe not consciously, but you push your tasks to the last minute. You fail to stay attentive, which is why you have to spend more time on minor jobs too. Focus is hard to gain but easy to lose.

All these are signs of procrastination. If you want to eradicate the lack of time from your life, you have to get rid of procrastination as well. Luckily, you can find a lot of easy tips and strategies online to do so.

4. Improve Time Management

It all comes down to time management. This skill is the magic wand that helps you use every hour of the day. It may sound pretty simple. You do use all the hours in the day already. However, if you sit down and calculate how much time you’ve actually used in the day, you’ll realize that you waste more than half of your time.

Time-management is what keeps you from wasting this uncalculated time. It is the skill that gives you the power to be productive through every minute. Moreover, if you can learn to manage your time, you’ll automatically avoid procrastination, too.[2]

Advertising

With this skill alone, you’ll notice a huge difference in terms of the lack of time that you were experiencing beforehand.

Bottom Line

In the end, one thing is for sure: there is no such thing as a lack of time. You’re the one who either puts the time to use or lets it go to waste.

If you can keep yourself from wasting the defined hours of the day in the wrong areas and utilize them efficiently, you’ll have plenty of time to manage all that you need to.

The tips that you’ve learned today are priceless. In a world like this, time is money. With the knowledge that you’ve gained, you’re on your way to endless wealth and productivity!

So, start using these tips to improve your life by utilizing every second of the day. Get on with this new lifestyle to conquer anything and everything in this world!

More Productivity Tips

Featured photo credit: Andy Beales via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 7 Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Life Like a Pro How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

Trending in Productivity

1 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 2 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 3 How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 4 9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life 5 How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

Advertising

1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

Advertising

There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

Advertising

So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

Advertising

And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next